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Home » What's New » Optometrist Insight: Carrots and Eyesight

Optometrist Insight: Carrots and Eyesight

You may have heard that carrots improve your vision, but is this really true? Eye care professionals know that regardless of how many carrots you eat, they can't actually improve your eyesight. However, they do contain large amounts of beta-carotene, a vitamin that is beneficial for the health of your eyes and therefore ingesting carrots and other beta-carotene rich foods is surely a recommendation for proper eye health.

Beta-carotene is an orange pigment (carotenoid) that converts into vitamin A after it's absorbed in the human body. Vitamin A helps to guard the surface of the eye (cornea) and has been shown to be preventative for various eye diseases such as macular degeneration. Vitamin A, an antioxidant compound, guards the cornea to reduce the frequency of eye infections as well as other infectious illnesses. Vitamin A has also shown to be a successful solution for dry eyes as well as other eye disorders. A lack of vitamin A (which tends to be more likely in underdeveloped countries) often causes night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can lead to blindness.

Two forms of vitamin A exist, which relate to the nutritional source they come from. Retinol is vitamin A that comes from an animal source such as beef, chicken liver, whole milk or cheese. Vitamin A that is produce-derived comes in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which are converted to retinol after the food is digested. In addition to carrots, carotenoids can be found in colorful produce such as oranges, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes.

There is no doubt that through most forms, vitamin A contributes to the health of your eyes and your overall well being. Although carrots won't correct optical distortion which causes vision impairments, grandma had it right when she said ''finish your vegetables.''